Zinc could be the answer to the common cold

People who begin using zinc lozenges, tablets or syrup at the first signs of a common cold are more likely to get well faster, researchers reported Tuesday. But the new findings probably won’t be the last word on the issue, which has been the subject of debate since the idea was first proposed in 1984.

Since that time, 18 studies have examined zinc in preventing or treating colds. Some found zinc supplements were modestly helpful, others failed to turn up any benefits.

One analysis of 14 studies, published in 2007, concluded that many of the studies were too flawed to draw any conclusions.

In the latest report, published by the Cochrane Library, an international network of experts who conduct systematic reviews of research, scientists in India evaluated 15 studies, including four published since 2000.

Two of the studies evaluated focused on zinc’s effectiveness in preventing colds and the rest on its ability to shorten the duration of colds. The 15 studies involved 1,360 participants ranging in age from 1 to 65 with good overall health.

Pooling the data, researchers found that people who took zinc within 24 hours of the start of symptoms were over their colds about one day sooner than people who took placebos. The analysis also found that the severity of cold symptoms was somewhat milder among people who took zin

King of Thailand general condition good

The King of Thailand general condition is good after his team of physicians diagnosed a lung infection and fever and administered appropriate medications, according to the latest report from the Royal Household Bureau.

The bureau said that the Thai monarch developed fever Sunday evening and his medical team diagnosed a lung infection after examining his chest and abdomen using computer-assisted X-ray diagnostic technology.

However, His Majesty the King has no cough and his doctors found no inflammation.

The medical team, administered antibiotics and intravenous fluid to the 81-year-old monarch.

The king’s fever had receded since Monday morning and his general condition is good, according to the statement.

Could Shrimp Save the Planet?

Scientists in China have reportedly found a new use for shrimp – developing a catalyst from shrimp shells which could aid production of biodiesel fuel.

In a world increasingly concerned with global warming, there is a growing turn towards more renewable sources of energy. Xinsheng Zheng and colleagues in China have noticed the importance of renewable fuels like biodiesel.

Current biodiesel production processes produce large amounts of waste water, and the catalysts required to speed up the chemical reactions that transform plant oils into diesel fuel cannot be reused. This new research suggests that a catalyst derived from shrimp shells converted canola oil to biodiesel more efficiently, and quickly than some traditional catalysts, and additionally can be reused.

Their study is scheduled for release in the Aug. 20 issue of ACS’ Energy & Fuels.

Residents of Tokyo has new way of fighting burglars

Tokyo (Reuters) – A Tokyo district plagued with burglaries has turned to planting flowers to beautify its streets and help stamp out crime.

“‘Operation Flower’ began about three years ago. By planting flowers facing the street, more people will be keeping an eye out while taking care of the flowers or watering them,” said Kiyotaka Ohyagi, a Suginami City official.

“The best way to prevent crime is to have more people on the lookout.”

Suginami, with a population of 528,800, saw a record 1,710 break-ins in 2002.

When a neighborhood watch group found that there were fewer burglaries in buildings on flower-lined streets, Suginami decided to kick off Operation Flower and asked volunteers to plant seeds on side streets and in front of their homes.

The flowers are part of a wider crime prevention campaign. The district also has 9,600 volunteer patrollers and 200 security cameras set up in areas where there are frequent break-ins. It also emails crime information daily to residents.

New hope for Chinas’ polluted cities

pearl river tower 310mA new skyscraper that is being constructed in Guangzhou in southern China is being heralded as a change of direction for China’s green credentials.

The 310m Pearl River Tower is going to be off the electricity grid of China, in one of it’s most polluted cities, and will be run on a combination of wind turbines, solar panels and fuel cells. The building is expected to be finished in late 2010.

Other energy efficient features include a double-layer curtain-wall system to reduce heat absorption and slab concrete vaulted ceilings that enhance natural daylight. Chilled water will run through metal panels in the ceiling, helping to cool the building.

Hopefully China is finally waking up to the threat of global warming and can lead the world in sustainable building.